Pullman Police recommend rape charge in 2016 case

IAN SMAY, Evergreen reporter

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The Pullman Police Department officially passed a recommendation of charges to the Whitman County Prosecutor’s Office last week stemming from an alleged rape at a WSU fraternity in 2016.

The incident allegedly occurred on the weekend of Sept. 2, 2016 in the now-suspended Delta Upsilon Greek chapter house. A woman reported being raped while unconscious, and that she could not provide consent, Pullman Police Cmdr. Chris Tennant said.

“It’s been a lengthy investigation,” he said.

Tennant also said that due to there being a lack of witnesses to the assault itself, the investigation had to rely on witness statements from before and after the assault, DNA samples and surveillance footage available from the evening in question. This was also prolonged by a six-month wait for results from the state’s DNA testing lab.

The decision to recommend charges means that the Whitman County Prosecutor’s Office will now review all case information before deciding whether the case is strong enough to take in front of a judge.

“It takes a little bit of time to comb through all of that,” Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Dan LeBeau said. “I am in the process of reviewing it.”

Pullman PD recommends a charge of second-degree rape, a class A felony in Washington. LeBeau said it will be at least a week or two before any further decisions are made.